Give Thanks In All Circumstances
November 26, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Do you want to know God’s will for you in this craziest of crazy years? Paul simply states God’s will for you in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Wait… “in all circumstances”?!? Paul certainly did not have 2020 in mind when he wrote this, right? Of course, Paul was not thinking about 2020, or any other crazy year in the past 2,000 years. But God had all these years, and circumstances, in mind when he directed Paul to write this command. God’s will for us this year is to give thanks in all circumstances, no matter how hard, challenging, or disappointing those circumstances are.
One of the reasons God desires for us to give thanks in all circumstances is that the lack of gratitude is dangerous. In describing the downward spiral of depravity and rejecting God in Romans 1, Paul says it starts with not honoring God as God nor giving thanks to him (Rom. 1:21). The lack of gratitude leads to the rejection of God.
So, for what can we give thanks in “all circumstances”? What is good enough, sufficient, to captivate our attention in the midst of the most difficult circumstances so that we have reason to give thanks? Let’s let Scripture answer that question.
- Give Thanks for Salvation. When the seventy-two return to Jesus, they were amazed that they had power over demons. Jesus responds, however, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Greater than ministry success, greater than life’s triumphs, is the gift of salvation. No event or unwanted circumstance can affect your salvation which is “kept in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4). Let us not lose sight of our ultimate good.
- Give Thanks for God’s Reign. In one of the heavenly worship services in Revelation, God is thanked for his eternal reign. They sing, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (11:17). God still reigns today and gives us reason to give thanks.
- Give Thanks for God’s Character. Psalm 100 is well-known for its call to give thanks. The reason to give thanks is significant. The psalmist says in verse 5, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” God’s unchangeable character gives us ample reason to give thanks in all circumstances. This refrain opens four psalms after this initial call (cf. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; & 136:1).
- Give Thanks for God’s Works. In psalms 106 and 107, the psalmist recounts the history of Israel and how God did mighty works on behalf of his people. In 107, the psalmist repeats the refrain, “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” four times (v. 8, 15, 21, 31). These psalms call us to fix our eyes on God’s gracious works and give thanks.
- Give Thanks for the People God has Placed in Your Life. One of the distinguishing marks of Paul’s letters is that he starts nearly every single one of them with giving thanks for the people to whom he writes (cf. Rom. 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thes. 1:2; 2 Thes. 1:3; & Philemon 4). Were all these people stellar saints? No. Did some of them cause headaches for Paul? Absolutely. Yet Paul gives thanks for them. We can give thanks for the people in our lives because we acknowledge God has provided these relationships.